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Senior Thesis


An alternative to Senior Project is the Senior Thesis. The thesis should be roughly equivalent to a Master's Thesis in scope. That is, a Senior Thesis should be a substantial body of work (worthy of its 8 credit hours). The thesis may be research, expository, critical, or creative work but must be original in subject matter, organization, or view.

The decision to pursue a Senior Thesis should not be made at the last minute. An interested student should begin discussions with a thesis advisor and committee members in the semester before enrolling. Students interested in pursuing a Senior Thesis should be aware of the following:


A thesis student must have a GPA not lower than 3.0 and must have satisfied all Senior Project Prerequisites. Senior Thesis is open only to seniors.

Credit Hours and Timing

The thesis must total 8 credit hours to be completed over the course of one year. At least 2 credit hours and not more than 4 credit hours may be taken in any one semester or summer.

Advisor and Committee

The student must find an advisor willing to guide the student through completion of the thesis. The thesis advisor must be a member of the Computer Science faculty. The student and thesis advisor must choose a committee of three CU faculty members, including the thesis advisor.


Senior Thesis is a controlled enrollment course. To enroll in the course, the student must complete the Senior Thesis Course Enrollment Form each semester. The form lists the names of the thesis advisor and committee members, the thesis topic, the number of credit hours being requested for the semester, the date of the midterm proposal defense (for the first semester), and the date of the semester final exam, among other things.

The form must be signed by the thesis advisor and delivered to the Computer Science Undergraduate Program Advisor in ECOT 721 prior to the second week of each semester of Senior Thesis. Upon receipt of the completed enrollment form, the Undergraduate Program Advisor will enroll the student into the appropriate section of CSCI 4950 Senior Thesis.

Concurrent BS/MS Students

The Senior Thesis may not be used in place of the Master's Thesis.

first semester midterm:

The student must successfully defend a written research proposal before their faculty committee by midterm of the first semester. This defense is open to the public. A First Semester Midterm Proposal Report must be completed by the thesis advisor and delivered to the Undergraduate Program Advisor, along with the written research proposal, during the ninth week of the first semester.

The research proposal and the First Semester Midterm Proposal Report will be reviewed by the Undergraduate Committee; in order to maintain reasonable consistency among BS senior thesis projects, the Undergraduate Committee may provide feedback to the advisor. The advisor must inform the Undergraduate Committee of how the student intends to respond to the feedback provided. In some cases, the committee may indicate that the current proposal is not up to the standards of quality required to continue. If so, the student will be required to work with his/her advisor and the Undergraduate Committee to improve the quality of the proposal or switch to a different senior capstone option.

first semester final:

The student must present a progress report to the faculty advisor by the end of the first semester. The advisor will review the report and share it with the rest of the committee. If adequate progress has been made, the advisor will complete the First Semester Final Report form and circulate it to the rest of the student's committee and to the Undergraduate Program Advisor prior to the last day of finals for the semester.

The thesis advisor will also assign a grade. The student must be on track for success and must receive a grade of at least B- for the first semester's work to proceed to the second semester. If either of these criteria is not met, the credit hours completed do not count toward completion of the thesis. (They count only as free elective or upper division Computer Science elective credit.)

subsequent semester(s):

At the committee's discretion, the student may need to meet intermediate milestones.

last semester final:

The student must defend the thesis before the committee of three faculty members. That committee will decide whether the student has completed a satisfactory thesis. This defense is public.

The student must deliver the completed thesis to the committee no later than one week before the defense date, which must be no later than the last day of finals for the semester.

Paperwork and Deadline Summary
See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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October 7, 2011